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Views of JJ Levine's 'Tapestry: Queering the Gaze' and Micah Lexier's project, 'How to Draw a Soccer Ball' | Courtesy of The Hamilton Artists Inc.
Views of JJ Levine's 'Tapestry: Queering the Gaze' and Micah Lexier's project, 'How to Draw a Soccer Ball' | Courtesy of The Hamilton Artists Inc.

Hamilton's Best Contemporary Art Galleries

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Updated: 6 February 2017
In the city of Hamilton, commonly referred to as ‘Steeltown’ for its industrial roots, the booming arts scene is garnering attention. With established galleries and studios across the downtown core, and new ones popping up on a regular basis, it’s no wonder art lovers can’t get enough of this city. With no shortage of local talent, there are plenty of galleries to visit in Hamilton, not to mention the Art Crawl available every second Friday of the month and the annual Super Crawl along James St. North. We profile the best contemporary art galleries in Hamilton, Ontario.


Art Gallery of Hamilton

One of the city’s most established galleries, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is the gem of Hamilton’s art district. With a substantial collection of over 10,000 works of art – from historical European and Canadian pieces to contemporary art – AGH is the largest public art gallery in Southwestern Ontario. With inventive temporary exhibitions as well as the ilovefilm series and the AGH Design Annex, AGH is anything but stuffy. Established in 1914, AGH is one of the oldest public art galleries Ontario. The gallery also offers free admission on the first Friday of every month.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King St W, Hamilton, ON, Canada, +1 905 527 6610

Art Gallery of Hamilton

Fearful Symmetry: The Art of John Scott, installation view at the Art Gallery of Hamilton | © Mike Lalich

The Hamilton Artists Inc.

The Hamilton Artists Inc. is committed to the presentation of contemporary art and related cultural practices, and facilitates dialogue for surrounding issues in contemporary art using outlets such as exhibitions, publications, and performances. With its programs, events, and exhibitions, Hamilton Artists Inc. is helping to keep the contemporary arts scene in Hamilton alive and thriving. Hamilton Artists Inc.’s community is oriented in the arts, and it offers educational initiatives representing culture locally and beyond.

Hamilton, Artists Inc., 155 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada, +1 905 529 3355

Chun Hua Catherine Dong's exhibition Visual Poetics of Embodied Shame | Courtesy of The Hamilton Artists Inc.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong’s exhibition Visual Poetics of Embodied Shame | Courtesy of The Hamilton Artists Inc.

Art Gallery of Hamilton Design Annex

The Art Gallery of Hamilton Design Annex is the sister site to the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Located down the street on James St. North, the Design Annex is not only lovely to walk through, but is a go-to spot to experience experimental exhibitions and unique performances. Art collectors can’t miss out — many of the Design Annex’s displayed artworks are available for purchase. You can find everything from modern and contemporary art to home and office furnishings, as well as some vintage inspired toys and books.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton Design Annex, 18 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada, +1 905 667 6620

Art Gallery of Hamilton Design Annex

Art Gallery of Hamilton Design Annex – Interior | © Mike Lalich

Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts

Located on James Street South, just down the street from the downtown core art district, the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts offers over 100 arts programs including (but not limited to) music, dance, visual arts, and acting. Featuring 18 sound proof music rooms, inspiring visual arts studios, spacious dance studios, an acoustically perfect recital hall and an art gallery, the HCA offers a variety of events year round. Their impressive roster of programs and events exposes young people to the arts while further engaging the wider community.

Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts, 126 James St S, Hamilton, ON, Canada, +1 905 528 4020


Centre[3] for Print and Media

Located at the heart of Hamilton’s arts district, Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts offers world-class facilities for traditional print-making (including printing in lithography, silkscreening, and intaglio) as well as being a state of the art digital media facility. A center for community arts, production, exhibition, and education, Centre3 supports both traditional and experimental print media and art practices. This dynamic artist-run, multi-purpose centre is a must-visit for anyone – whether you’re a newbie, a seasoned print-maker, or just appreciate a well-made print, Centre[3] has something for you.

Centre3for Print and Media Arts, 173 James St N Hamilton, ON, Canada, +1 905 524 5084

Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts

Gu Xiong, Becoming Rivers | Courtesy of Centre[3] for Print and Media Arts

McMaster Museum of Art

What’s a university without an art gallery? After opening to the public in 1994, the McMaster Museum of Art has served as a creative home to a significant collection of 6,000 works at McMaster University. The MMA provides public programs that change regularly, and one of their collection highlights includes the Herman H. Levy Collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. The MMA is a perfect meeting spot for both the academic campus and wider community; what better to build town-gown relations than coming together for some serious art appreciation?

McMaster Museum of Art, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada, +1 905 525 9140 (ext. 23081)

McMaster Museum of Art

Elizabeth Doxtater, Where the Water Never Freezes | Courtesy of McMaster Museum of Art

The Focus Gallery

Heading to Hamilton’s historic Jamesville? Don’t miss out on a visit to The Focus Gallery. Also located within bustling art community on Hamilton’s James Street North, you will find original works of art in an elegant gallery space. Inspiring works from local, national and international artists, The Focus Gallery is sure to leave you in awe. Their focus is on exhibiting the work of artists’ that present extraordinary and noteworthy contributions to the arts is evident in their fresh, dynamic exhibitions.

The Focus Gallery, 66 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada, +1 905 218 9557


The Nathaniel Hughson Art Gallery

Located in downtown Hamilton on John Street North, The Nathaniel Hughson Art Gallery is dedicated to representing contemporary artists early on in their careers.  The gallery comes with its unique exposed brick and stone wall with an open beam ceiling; this is a destination for visitors to the city who are looking for something unique to add their itinerary.

The Nathaniel Hughson Art Gallery, 27 John St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada, +1 905 923 1192

B contemporary

Joining the wonderful arrangement of galleries in the James St North Arts District, b contemporary exhibits work of the highest quality and brings meaningful contributions to Canadian culture monthly.  Offering a selection of masterful works, the art displayed here is inspired by incredible color, local neighbourhoods, vintage recipes and cookbooks,  and elaborate installations. Providing abstract, contemporary, and fine art alongside pictures and beautiful framing, b contemporary is not one to be missed.

b contemporary, 226 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada, +1 289 389 3949